Promise Me This


“I will not be sorry to leave this world.”    

“You’re not going anywhere, Grandpa.”  Carrie put a hand on his arm.

He rested his own hand upon hers; gave it a squeeze.  “I can’t remember the last time someone touched me.”  Carrie dropped her eyes and a silence fell upon the room.  He felt uncomfortable: He didn’t mean to embarrass Carrie.  She was the only one who’d bothered to come.  He pointed to a crack in the ceiling.  “I wish I’d painted that one last time.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Paint I understand.  Something looks bad, slap a coat of paint on it and cover it up, good as new.”

His old dog padded into the room, his toenails clicking on the hardwood floor.  “You can’t fix things up so easily anymore.  The world is complicated too now.”  He sighed.  “People don’t want to deal with a confused old man.”

“You’re the smartest man I know.”

 “All the rules are changed.  It’s everyone for himself.”

“Not everyone.  People are basically still good.” 

“My Carrie, ever the optimist.”  His eyes wandered to the ceiling again.  “How are you coming along at that law school?”  She should be married by now.

She smiled.  “Top of my class.”

“Learning a lot?”  Would she ever have children?

“I am.”

“You have a boyfriend?”  He’d always dreamed of walking Carrie down the aisle in place of her absent father; wanted to tell his future son-in-law to take care of her.

She grinned.  A blush stole across her face.

“He hold the door for you?”

“I don’t need him to do that.”

“First thing my daddy taught me was to hold a door for a woman.  Taught me to stand when a lady entered the room.  Does he do that?”

She laughed and shook her head. 

“Well, he ought to.”  The dog put his head on the bedspread, nuzzled at the man’s hand.  “Your mother told me you stopped going to church.”

She bit her lip.  “Long story.”

“Butt out, old man?”  He chuckled.  “What do you think this old world will be like thirty years from now?”

Carrie looked out at vegetable garden.  “I don’t know,” she whispered.  “I'd like to think it will be a better place.  But…”

“Take care of my peach trees for me.”

She blinked.  “I will.”

“Look your boyfriend in the eyes when you talk to him.”

She smiled.  Nodded.

“If you ever have children, kiss them goodnight.  Tuck them into bed.”

“OK.”

“Get yourself back to church.  And not just for my funeral.”

“You’re not…”

“Promise me this, Carrie.”

“I promise,” she whispered.

“Teach your sons to stand when a lady enters the room.”

She fingered her bracelet.

He laughed then and closed his eyes.  "I'm dead now.  'Long with faith and chivalry."

And the dog nuzzled the old man’s hand while Carrie sat staring out at the garden waiting for the sun to set.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Cameron gave me this prompt: "I'm dead now. 'Long with faith and chivalry." — from Faster, Sooner, Now by David Gray. I gave Eric Limer this prompt: Sitting inside the eye of the storm.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Promise Me This

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Promise Me This


“I will not be sorry to leave this world.”    

“You’re not going anywhere, Grandpa.”  Carrie put a hand on his arm.

He rested his own hand upon hers; gave it a squeeze.  “I can’t remember the last time someone touched me.”  Carrie dropped her eyes and a silence fell upon the room.  He felt uncomfortable: He didn’t mean to embarrass Carrie.  She was the only one who’d bothered to come.  He pointed to a crack in the ceiling.  “I wish I’d painted that one last time.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Paint I understand.  Something looks bad, slap a coat of paint on it and cover it up, good as new.”

His old dog padded into the room, his toenails clicking on the hardwood floor.  “You can’t fix things up so easily anymore.  The world is complicated too now.”  He sighed.  “People don’t want to deal with a confused old man.”

“You’re the smartest man I know.”

 “All the rules are changed.  It’s everyone for himself.”

“Not everyone.  People are basically still good.” 

“My Carrie, ever the optimist.”  His eyes wandered to the ceiling again.  “How are you coming along at that law school?”  She should be married by now.

She smiled.  “Top of my class.”

“Learning a lot?”  Would she ever have children?

“I am.”

“You have a boyfriend?”  He’d always dreamed of walking Carrie down the aisle in place of her absent father; wanted to tell his future son-in-law to take care of her.

She grinned.  A blush stole across her face.

“He hold the door for you?”

“I don’t need him to do that.”

“First thing my daddy taught me was to hold a door for a woman.  Taught me to stand when a lady entered the room.  Does he do that?”

She laughed and shook her head. 

“Well, he ought to.”  The dog put his head on the bedspread, nuzzled at the man’s hand.  “Your mother told me you stopped going to church.”

She bit her lip.  “Long story.”

“Butt out, old man?”  He chuckled.  “What do you think this old world will be like thirty years from now?”

Carrie looked out at vegetable garden.  “I don’t know,” she whispered.  “I'd like to think it will be a better place.  But…”

“Take care of my peach trees for me.”

She blinked.  “I will.”

“Look your boyfriend in the eyes when you talk to him.”

She smiled.  Nodded.

“If you ever have children, kiss them goodnight.  Tuck them into bed.”

“OK.”

“Get yourself back to church.  And not just for my funeral.”

“You’re not…”

“Promise me this, Carrie.”

“I promise,” she whispered.

“Teach your sons to stand when a lady enters the room.”

She fingered her bracelet.

He laughed then and closed his eyes.  "I'm dead now.  'Long with faith and chivalry."

And the dog nuzzled the old man’s hand while Carrie sat staring out at the garden waiting for the sun to set.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Cameron gave me this prompt: "I'm dead now. 'Long with faith and chivalry." — from Faster, Sooner, Now by David Gray. I gave Eric Limer this prompt: Sitting inside the eye of the storm.

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4 Comments:

At August 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Cameron (CDG) said...

I love chivalry. Just the act of kindness and consideration for others, it doesn't even have to be specifically by men towards women. I like how the old man's upbringing somewhat shames our own. What happened to that kind of decency?


Hope you enjoyed the prompt!

 
At August 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM , OpenID ratherthecouch said...

Ahh!! You're killing me with these poignantly sad stories! This and the "normal" prompt. And just in case it's not clear - that means I think they're really good.

 
At August 8, 2012 at 10:32 AM , Anonymous Lynn A. Davidson said...

I really like this.
If I had had sons I would have taught them to stand when a lady enters the room. It was the thing to do, should still be, as it shows respect.
My husband is in the habit of holding doors for women. Once he got scolded for doing it but most seem to appreciate it. I do, especially when it's a young person being courteous, but too often the door is let go as if no one is about to walk through.
Did I say .. I really like your story?

 
At August 9, 2012 at 10:08 PM , Anonymous November Rain said...

This had a moral that makes you think about things, that's awe inspiring to me. Respect... a little bit makes a big difference.

 

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